10 unknown facts about KALPANA CHAWLA!

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Remembering Kalpana
Chawla on her Birthday!

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It’s been 13
years since we lost one of the finest astronauts in the experiment of Space Shuttle Columbia on the ill-fated STS-107 mission. She was the first Indian-born woman and
the second Indian person to fly in space. And after all these years we
still remember her for the heroic act.
Apart from
the Astronaut that we knew, let’s see some of the unknown facts about her.
1. Birth

Kalpana_Chawla_as_Child
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She was born
on March 17,1962. But her official birth date was changed to 1 July,1961 for
admission purpose. Born to an average middle class family in Karnal, Haryana.
2. Education

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She
completed her schooling from Tagore Baal Niketan Senior Secondary School
in Karnal. And her B.Tech
in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College at Chandigarh in
1982.
3. Higher education

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She moved to
USA in 1982 and pursued degree of Masters in aerospace engineering from the
University of Texas in Arlington. Then in
1986, she got her second degree of Masters and in the year of 1988, she became
a Doctor of PHD in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado
situated in Boulder.
4. Hobbies

She learnt
karate in her college days. She also played Badminton and took part in running
races.  Her husband records that she made it a point to learn everything
that caught her fancy – including scuba diving and Bharatnatyam.
5. Flight Instructor

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She was
certified with a commercial pilot license for the seaplanes, multi engine air
place and glider. She also was a Certificated Flight Instructor for glider and
airplanes.
6. Marriage life

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She got
married to Jean-Pierre Harrison in 1983, who was a flying instructor and an
aviation author.Now
he runs a publishing house in California.-He has written a book about her life,
The Edge of Time: The Authoritative Biography of Kalpana Chawla, which was
released in 2011. 
Kalpana Chawla Harisson book
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7. Life at NASA

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She got the
position of Vice President of Overset Methods, Inc at NASA  Research
Center. After being
the vice president at NASA, she was assigned to make Computational fluid
dynamics (CFD) research on Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing concepts.
8. Awards

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After
becoming a US citizen in 1991, she applied for the membership of NASA Astronaut
Corps .She achieved
many awards such as Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Space Flight Medal
and NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
9. Original Name
Her parents named
her Monto. But she chose her name, Kalpana and adopted Monto as her nick name.
10. Things named after her
  • Kalpana 1 – India’s first
    weather satellite,
  • A Nasa Supercomputer
  • A planetarium in
    Kurukshetra, near Karnal
  • A hill on Mars
  • The 51826 Kalpanachawla  – An asteroid which circles the Sun
    between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Another interesting fact : The shuttle she flew along with other 6 members, STS-107
Columbia took off on 16 January on a
16-day flight. It disintegrated 16 minutes before its scheduled
landing. Co-incidence much?!!

Our country has had some great people and Kalpana will
definitely be one among them who made us proud. She would have been 55-years
today if she had lived. She has been and will continue to be a diligent role
model for many of us.

Take a bow Kalpana Chawla! You taught us many things through your death.

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